Which PGA Tour Sponsor is Getting the Biggest Benefit Online?

According to the PGA there are 27 million golfers in the US. For marketers, golf enthusiasts are an enticing target segment; according to the Golf Channel, their average viewer has a household income of $76,000 (compared to approximately $48,000 for all Americans).

That may help explain why so many PGA tournaments have corporate sponsors — The Honda Classic, the Wachovia Championship, the AT&T Pebble Beach ProAm to name a few. Of course the question for these brands — does sponsoring a PGA tournament — a very offline event, lead to more online interest from golf enthusiasts?

Compete identified "golf enthusiasts" in our panel based on people who frequent golf oriented websites. We overlapped that audience with visitors to the domains of a few of the companies that sponsored PGA tournaments this spring. We looked at the index of golf enthusiasts during December 2007 (prior to the PGA 2008 tour kick-off) and again in May (following the PGA spring tournaments we studied).

The data above can help us answer a few questions about the success of these sponsorships:

  • Do these brands over index in golf enthusiasts’ visiting their websites? In all cases — Yes. There is between 1.2X and 3.3X greater likelihood of finding a golf enthusiasts visiting these sponsor domains than you’d expect to find based on the size of the golf enthusiast segment online. So, these PGA sponsorships appear to be working
  • The second key question — has the index of golf enthusiasts increased or decreased this spring, the same period of time when all of these tournaments were held? In this case, the results are mixed. Between December 2007 and May 2008, three companies saw their index of golf enthusiasts on their website decrease (Mercedes, Wachovia, and Verizon) while VZW was flat, and AT&T and Honda saw a small increase.

It appears from the data that each of these brands succeeds at attracting to their website a target segment that their offline marketing is courting. However, it remains unclear if there is any direct and immediate lift associated with the date of the PGA event and an increase / decrease in the number of golf enthusiasts visiting the site.

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